|The 2018 PGS Spring Split roster of the former relegated squad Naga eSports. Pro Gaming Series|
By Ozzy Alaba
MANILA -- After almost two years of painful absence, Naga eSports will finally set foot into the PGS playoff stage yet again.
Naga eSports (NE) successfully booked a ticket to the 2018 Bacchus PGS Spring Split Playoffs as they shockingly swept the defending champions Team Manila Eagles (TME), 2-0 to wrap their group stage standings in fifth place in Day 1 of the seventh and final week of the group stages on Friday.
Naga, who painstakingly faced an automatic relegation to the secondary league in the 2016 PGS Summer Split due to its eighth place finish (2-12, 0 wins - 2 draws - 5 losses) finally tasted the feeling of competing into the bracket stage yet again since 2016 Spring as their veteran mid laner Karl Vincent Danzo saved his best performance to the last, submitting excellent plays on Xerath and his signature Ahri to carry the six-man squad to the victory.
With his stellar showing, Danzo, also known as KarlCulated, alongside with the W, was also hailed as the Player of the Game through his 6.25 Kill-Death-Assist (KDA) Ratio (16/4/9 KDA), highighting his game-high 12/2/4 KDA on Ahri in Game 2, which made a significant impact to their series win.
NE’s jungler Kurt Cristobal (Rebengga) and support David Constantine Viray (Neep) also didn’t fail in supporting Danzo to carry as the veteran duo bagged a combined 6/8/42 KDA (6 KDA Ratio), enough to contribute in anchoring the squad to the much-important W.
NE’s rookie top laner Angelico Matheo Natividad also stepped up, playing carry and tanky champions like Maokai and the rarely-used Kled, which resulted to a 7/5/18 KDA (5 KDA Ratio) in the entire series.
Chaos was what both squads exemplified in the first minutes of the curtain-raiser.
Both teams were continuously exchanging kills in the first 10 minutes, accentuating Danzo’s solo kills on TME’s jungler Bryan Infanso and mid laner Robert Dan Mansilungan in his jungle roaming antics and a 2 for 2 kill exchange in a bot lane teamfight.
As NE continued to scale hard for the late game, they also extended their 1,000-gold margin to 4,000 gold as the veteran-aided roster took down more objectives and towers in a span of less than seven minutes.
And their hard-scale farming paid off in the 25th minute as NE secured the Baron Nashor and picked off TME’s top laner Jaiby Paglingayen and AD Carry Marc Ilagan in a Baron pit clash.
|RESULT OF HARD SCALING. NE (red side) finally paid its hard-scaling off as they picked off two kills to TME (blue side) in a Baron Pit clash, alongside with the Baron Nashor in the 25th minute.|
The onslaught just didn't end there. NE then instantly surged at TME’s base in the 28th minute, exchanging two kills to one in a TME’s base clash, getting the upper hand in the series in 28 minutes.
Riding the momentum high, NE then continued in their wreak-havoc strategy in the first moments of the second game as they won numerous teamfights and got the objective control in 24 minutes.
With everything on disadvantage for TME, that’s where Paglingayen shone as his pocket-pick Fiora got a Quadra kill in a top lane clash in the 27th minute.
|POCKET PICK. TME's top laner Jaiby Paglingayen brought his pocket pick Fiora into the PGS spotlights as he picked off a Quadra Kill in a top lane teamfight in the 27th minute.|
But it was short-lived as NE easily wiped them in another TME base teamfight, 4 for 1, sealing the deal and forcing TME to call the series quits in a 35-minute skirmish.
Meanwhile, Paglingayen, a former PGS champion displayed a decent performance for TME, submitting a 2.13 KDA Ratio (9/8/8 KDA), putting his 8/4/4 KDA on Fiora in the spotlight, altogether with Ilagan, who garnered a 3.5 KDA Ratio (4/4/10 KDA) in the end.
With its series win and seed placement, Naga (5th place) will have a rematch with TME (4th place) in the Quarterfinals of the bracket phase.
|The bracketing of the six teams who qualified for the 2018 Bacchus PGS Spring Split Playoffs. Leaguepedia|
Follow him on Twitter: @History4Lyf